Silk is made by spinning a silk worm and it is incredibly versatile
fabric. Types of silk include brocade (elaborately decorated,
sturdy, and used in traditional Asian costume), chiffon, taffeta,
and georgette (lightweight, gossamer fabrics that drape well but are
difficult to master), and velvet (woven on a loom, velvet can be
made from other fiber, but silk velvet is the finest). Silks are
often worn in formal wear, and are used to make bridal gowns,
traditional Japanese kimonos, and prom dresses. Many silks are
lightweight and therefore useful in warm weather, but velvet is good
in the cold.
Wool is the hair of sheep, goat, llama, rabbit, and alpaca. First
the animalís coat is sheered (this does not hurt the animal),
cleaned, and dyed. The fibers can then felted to create fabric or
spun to make yarn to be knit, woven, or crocheted. In the Middle
Ages, wool was spun using a spindle, and spindles have long been an
object in fairytales like Sleeping
Beauty and Rumplestiltskin.
Fabrics types made from wool include flannel (which can also be made
from cotton), cashmere (wool from the cashmere goat), tweed (made
using a twill weave), and homespun. These fabrics are usually best
in cold weather and make for great scarves, sweaters, and in the
case of tweed, trousers and jackets.
Leather is made from tanning animal hide and skin, often the product
of cattle, but other animals can be used as well (such as lambskin
used in Uggs, the Chanel 2.55 handbag, and other shoes and bags).
Tanning is the process that keeps the animal product from
decomposing by curing the hides with salt and soaking them in an
chemical solution. Leather is durable and can be worn in both warm
and cold weather. Not only is leather used for clothing, but it is a
common textile used in upholstery and book binding.